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Genie and I are Atlanta natives. For fifteen years, we have spent half our time at our off-grid log cabin in the mountains above Boulder. People understand why we leave 90 degree heat in the summer to head to 9000 feet where it never goes above 80. What they don't understand is why we also winter out in Colorado.

My friends from the Midwest would love to get away from winter. Snow was so scarce in Atlanta when we grew up that we still love to play in the snow as adults. We  didn't understand when our son first went to CU Boulder that even in winter there are beautiful, sunny days.

Unlike the Midwest and Northeast, where it is gray, snowy and cold from November to May, the abundant sunshine in Boulder makes winter much more fun. So, I decided to create an album and video to show our friends: This is how we Winter. Enjoy.

Here we go down the driveway with Smokey after a 3 ft. dump.

Smoke Dog: The Snow Torpedo from Gregg Burch on Vimeo.

 

 Now that we have our T@B, we went winter camping again for the firs time since 1973.

 

 

 

Ward Townsite in Winter

Ward Townsite in Winter

Windswept Ward, where winter lingers

Panorama from the porch

Panorama from the porch

Looking east towards Boulder and the plains

Gray-crowned Rosy Finch

Gray-crowned Rosy Finch

We keep feeders and suet out on the porch and have an amazing collection of birds who winter here.

Snow on the Steps

Snow on the Steps

We can get an idea of how much snow is falling by looking at the grate on the stair landing. We keep the steps swept and shoveled in the winter, so this is just last night's snow.

Smokey keeps watch

Smokey keeps watch

He loves nothing more than to sit at the top of the stairs surveying his domain.

Not making much power

Not making much power

Solar panels covered in snow. Time for the backup generator to crank. We are off grid, and depend upon the generator in winter.

Snow on the Wind Sculpture

Snow on the Wind Sculpture

We often have wind in the mountains. The wind sculpture helps us see how hard it is blowing. In 2014, we had a month where the high wind speed was at least 35 MPH each day.

Watch the Sunrise

Watch the Sunrise

In the summer, you have to be up at 5:30 AM to see the sun rise. In the winter, it rises around 7 AM. We see many more sunrises in winter.

Pink snow in the trees

Pink snow in the trees

The reward for getting up and out at first light is the pink snow.

Dawn's early light

Dawn's early light

After snow shoeing down to the aspens to get catch the first rays of sun coming through the trees, I caught this picture of the cabin in pink snow.

Celebrate Christmas with Family

Celebrate Christmas with Family

We love nothing more than gathering our family together in the cabin for the holidays. We find a tree on the property.

Trimming the Tree

Trimming the Tree

A fun family tradition

Christmas lights on the porch

Twinkling lights

Family Portrait

Sledding down the front hill

Sledding down the front hill

We do a pastors' retreat in winter for our team back at City Church Eastside in Atlanta. Great fun skiing, snow shoeing and sledding in the fresh snow.

Pastors' Retreat

Snow on the Sod Roof of the Hytte

Snow on the Sod Roof of the Hytte

Our camping cabin covered in snow.

Genie warms by the winter campfire

Genie warms by the winter campfire

When the snow is not too deep, and the wind and cold are tolerable, we can build a fire and watch the sunset from over by the Hytte.

Longs Peak Sunset

Eventide

Gregg at dusk

Continental Divide View

Audubon and Mt Toll

Panorama at dusk

Evening fire

Moose in the backyard

Moose in the backyard

Wildlife viewing in the winter is better because you can see the tracks in the snow, and know who has visited. Here a mother moose and her young graze on the bushes.

Mule Deer grazing

Mule Deer grazing

Because of our eastern and southern exposure, our meadow melts out after a few days of sun. Then, the deer and elk come to graze.

Collecting antlers

Collecting antlers

After watching a handful of bucks grazing evening after evening, Genie saw one without antlers. The next day, we were out snow shoeing, and found the pair of antlers he had shed.

Coyote in the back yard

Coyote in the back yard

Just across our fence, he was scavanging for a winter meal

Coyotes come around regularly

Coyotes come around regularly

They cruise up our plowed driveway looking for a meal. They have tried to draw Smokey away into the woods where they could make a meal out of him.

Bull Elk strolls by

Bulls graze together

Bulls graze together

The Bull Elk stay together in small bands for safety from the mountain lions.

Elk in the Yard

Bobcat on the prowl

Bobcat on the prowl

We have many rabbits on the property, and Bobcats love rabbit. We saw this guy on the side of the road near the cabin. We have seen them several times on the property, and see their tracks regularly in winter.

Bighorn Sheep in St Vrain Canyon

Bighorn Sheep in St Vrain Canyon

Sheep often come down to a mineral lick, or to drink from the South St Vrain in the canyon. We mostly see them on winter mornings.

Winter Raptor Tour

Winter Raptor Tour

When the leaves are gone from the trees, it is easier to see hawks, owls and eagles in the Boulder County Open Space. Here are a pair of Bald Eagles in a tree.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

We do a raptor driving tour each winter. This time, we stopped at a spot where we had seen an owl four years ago. Sure enough, we found one again.

Owl closeup

Owl closeup

We see as many as 40-45 hawks, eagles, falcons and owls in a three hour tour of the open space in winter.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

We love to tour Rocky in winter. The Elk have come down from the high country to gather together and graze in the lower meadows.

Elk at rest

Elk in the shadow of Longs Peak

Moraine Park winter day

Moraine Park winter day

Rocky can be brutal in winter, but it can be calm and beautiful as well.

Big Thompson in Moraine Park

Big Thompson in Moraine Park

Looking for trout in the meltwater

Longs Peak

Bluebird day

Tom Turkeys scurry by

Winter Camping at its best

Winter Camping at its best

We had a stretch of warm weather that melted the snow off a dozen or so campsites in the Moraine Park campground.

T@B camping in snow

T@B camping in snow

Our friend Beverly Gholson joined us for a winter campout in the snow in Rocky

View from Camp

Snow glitters in the sun

Front range view from camp

Smokey on Lookout

Smokey on Lookout

You should've heard him howl when the Coyotes started yipping.

Blue sky and snow

Keeping warm

Keeping warm

Nothing like a campfire on a cold evening.

Nighttime at camp

Nighttime at camp

I've started taking photos of night sky.

Longs Peak in morning sun

Campfire to warm the day

Keeping watch

Keeping watch

Smokedog on the lookout

Enjoying the day

Enjoying the day

It is wonderful to be totally off grid, no phone, no wifi, no Facebook. Just sitting around adoring God's creation.

Moraine Park morning

Ridges above the meadow

Heart of Rocky

Heart of Rocky

Looking up the Big Thompson valley into the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park

Big Thompson flowing with melt

Where are you fishy, fishy?

Walking the river

Gregg & Genie at the Park

Melting ice

Fly fishing in winter

Fly fishing in winter

People fish year round up here.

Goodbye to the park

Goodbye to the park

after a winter camping stay.

Exploring Utah

Exploring Utah

Most winters, we take a few days off from the weather to go down to Utah. We have visited Canyonlands, Arches, Bryce, Zion, and Capitol Reef National parks in winter. Here you see a Panorama of Arches National Park in winter.

Double Arch

Double Arch

In winter, the crowds are gone, the photography is great. This is also Arches National Park.

Dawn in Arches

Morning's first light

Morning's first light

The colors are great at dawn. Looking through another arch.

Landscape Arch in the snow

Landscape Arch in the snow

This takes a hike to see, but the trail is fairly clear of snow.

Moab Hummer Tour

Moab Hummer Tour

Moab is a center of four-wheeling and mountain biking. We took a hummer tour of the slick rock. It was the first tour of the year, and we found some snow on the trials. Sketchy.

Hummer on the Slick Rock

Canyonlands: an all-time favorite

Canyonlands: an all-time favorite

We have visited Canyonlands at least a half a dozen times in the last 40 years. We still love to visit. This is from Islands in the Sky.

Canyonlands Overlook

Genie under Mesa Arch

Genie under Mesa Arch

Another wonderful short hike in Canyonlands. See the La Salle mountains in the distance.

Mesa Arch view

Skiing Yellowstone

Skiing Yellowstone

We visited Yellowstone in winter to see the wolves in the Lamar Valley.

Genie & Beverly ski Tower Falls trail

Genie & Beverly ski Tower Falls trail

We skied up to Calcite Springs overlook on the Yellowstone River, about a 2.5 mile round trip. Slow grade uphill the whole way, easy ride back.

Coyote crossing Gardner River

Coyote crossing Gardner River

Beautiful catch with him perched on two rocks, just as we entered Yellowstone

Bison Range

Bison Range

Fun to watch the Bison herds in Yellowstone looking for forage under deep snow.

778M (Alpha Male) & pup in Lamar Valley

778M (Alpha Male) & pup in Lamar Valley

When the wolves were reintroduced into the Yellowstone ecosystem, there were between 16,000-20,000 Elk in the park. Now there are 6000, and the wolf population has dropped from 175 to 100 in the park.

Big Blaze looking back to Big Brother (Alpha)

Pronghorn in Yellowstone

Bryce Canyon in the snow

Bryce Canyon in the snow

Bryce is at high elevation, so there is a lot of snow in winter.

Bryce Canyon at dawn

Virgin River in the Canyon

Virgin River in the Canyon

Zion National Park is much lower, and warmer in winter. Here the Virgin River flows through the canyon it has cut.

Zion Sunset

Zion Sunset

So, you see, there is plenty to do out west in the winter beyond skiing.

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